Federal Appellate Court: No warrant needed to track you in real time by your cell phone

Photo credit: from_ko

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that police do not need a warrant to track the location of a suspect’s phone.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration did not violate the constitutional rights of Melvin Skinner when they collected his phone’s GPS data.

DEA agents tracked Skinner’s pay-as-you-go phone as he transported drugs between Arizona and Tennessee. They arrested him at a rest stop in Texas with a motorhome filled with more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana.

Skinner’s lawyers argued that the police violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches by collecting his phone’s GPS data without first obtaining a warrant.

But the appeals court ruled that Skinner has no reasonable expectation of privacy for his cellphone’s location data.

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